One of the ways I prepare for a sermon is by listening to other sermons on the same passage. I realized that today’s passage, John 1:19-51, is not preached often. I found lots of sermons on John ‘s prolog (1:1-18) and on the beginning of chapter two (Jesus turning water into wine), but not much on John 1:19-51. And, I must admit, I understand why. If I wasn’t going through a series on John, I doubt I would pick that passage. On my first few readings, I found it quite confusing. I kept asking, “why this?” “why here?” I don’t like it when those questions still linger as Sunday approaches. Yet, in the end, I think I understood the passage well enough and I found much in it to benefit me.
I’ll mention one thing in the passage that didn’t talk about in the sermon. Remember Jesus’ interaction with Nathanael in 1:47-51? Nathanael believes Jesus because Jesus reveals supernatural knowledge. Jesus responds saying that he will see even greater things than these. And the greater thing is angels ascending and descending on the Son of man. In other words, he will see that Jesus—in his death and resurrection—is the way that sinners can get to God. If we put Jesus’ words in context we see that Jesus is not merely telling Nathanael what needs to be the content of his belief (believe that Jesus is the way to God) but the warrant for his believe (believe because Jesus is the way to God). I think this is similar to what John says in his epistle:
6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:6-11).
To listen to the sermon click here.